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Using Lie Detector Tests in Tennessee

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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The use of lie detector tests by employers in Tennessee is subject to these state rules.

Employers in Tennessee may not take any personnel action based solely upon the results of a polygraph examination.

It is unlawful for a polygraph examiner to inquire into the following areas during an employment-related polygraph examination, unless the examination is administered as a result of an investigation of illegal activity in the subject area and the inability to pose relevant questions in relation to the illegal activity would be detrimental to the investigation:

  • religious beliefs or affiliations
  • beliefs or opinions regarding racial matters
  • political beliefs or affiliations
  • beliefs, affiliations or lawful activities regarding unions or labor organizations
  • sexual preferences or activities
  • any disabilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • activities that occurred more than five years before the examination, except for felony convictions and violations of the state drug control act

In order to protect the rights of the employee in administering polygraph tests, minimum procedures must be followed. Each prospective examinee must be shown a list of the questions to be asked on an official form and a list of the areas that the examination will cover. Also, the questions must be reviewed with the examinee before the examination.

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